Will cycling be allocated additional track medals for the 2016 Olympic Games? Well, if the UCI has its way it will, with the governing body set to petition the IOC for another medal ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Cycling currently has an allocation of 10 track gold medals, with five for men and five for women. They are then split, with three sectioned off for sprint events and two for endurance. However, the UCI would like to see parity, with either the points race or the individual pursuit brought into the fold as an individual race for both men and women.
Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI said:
“We’ll evaluate how the programme has worked here. Obviously we’d like to have more medals and more events, even if we can use the same quota of athletes; the IOC also evaluates the international audience for the cycling events. We’ll put a proposal to the IOC for more medals. The four events that are there will stay there. The fifth event, the omnium, well that we’ll evaluate how it’s working and maybe tweak it to improve it, but in principle from what I understand from the technical team, it’s a good event and it’s worked very well.”
McQuaid and the UCI want to appeal to the professional road cycling ranks, whose riders have only two events to consider under the current format. The return of the individual pursuit would likely be the most popular decision amongst athletes and under the quota system, they would be allowed to target two endurance events. McQuaid went on to say:
“At moment we have three sprint events and two endurance events. I would like three sprint events and three endurance events and that way we keep the attraction for road riders to be involved in track racing, which is important. But we then have to go to the IOC and ask for another medal. It would be coming from within the quota of athletes we have, but it’s up to them. There are other sports as well looking for other medals. Up to now the IOC has resisted but we’ll try and make a strong case based on the success here.
It could be the points race, individual pursuit or the Madison although I doubt the Madison because it’s very difficult to follow on television to a world wide audience. You use the athletes that you’ve got but it makes it more attractive for the road riders because they have the chance of three medals and would get to take part in three events. We don’t want to take any events out. We’ve currently got 10 medals. We want to keep it like that and make it possibly 12.”